Friday, March 16, 2012

Jim Davidson: from Cronulla to Mooball


Jim Davidson, entering his fifth decade of surf art

North Coast surf artist Jim Davidson is purely ex-Cronulla, simply another offspring child and a true descendant of The Shire's surfboard industry.

For well over the last forty years, Jim’s inimitable style would be instantly recognizable to many surfers, and if they were around in the '70s, '80s, '90s or even ‘00s there’s a good chance they would have either ridden a surfboard featuring one of Jim's surf inspired artistic creations, played a surf DVD that carried his cover design, worn a surf t-shirt bearing a logo that he designed or owned a surf poster featuring his artwork.

Over a lifetime dedicated to the surfing industry and art in general, Jim has specialized in comic-character style surf inspired art for screen printing, spray painting on surfboards, decal designs for surfboard manufacturers and airbrushed posters for surf movies.

Ex-Cronulla artist; Jim Davidson
Getting his start in 1974 spraying surfboards at Jackson Surfboards in Cronulla, Jim soon became Gordon & Smith surfboards’ full time spray-artist, when they were producing up to 100 surfboards a week.

This gave Jim a lot of time to experiment and refine his skills, and soon his work was in hot demand and adorning surfboards shaped by labels including Emerald, Southern Comfort, Force 9, Carabine, Byrne Brorthers, Skipp, Christie, Bennett, Aloha, Channel Islands, Friar Tuck, Island-A-Classic, Natural Flight, and Midget Farrelly, and boards generated by pro-surfers, shapers and surfing identities like Terry Richardson, The Bronzed Aussies, Peter Townend, Cheyen Horan, Mark Occhilupo, Jim Banks, Critter Byrne, Mark Richards and even Michael Peterson among many others.

Even though work was flowing, it was Jim’s dream to move to the North coast - he’d watched the classic surf film; Morning of the Earth and the seed to a country life was sown. So in 1981 Jim and his wife moved to the Northern NSW cow town called Mooball, smack in between the Gold Coast and Byron Bay.

Artwork by Jim
On the Gold Coat, original Kirra Surf founder, Peter Turner introduced Jim to the crew at his Local Knowledge surfboard factory and plenty of work soon followed. Then additional work for Fingal Surf Co, Gordon and Black, Blitz, Pipedream and Nev were just some of the local Gold Coast surf companies sending work his way. Before long Jim was branching out into the clothing industry, designing the logo for top surf brand; Mango and print designs for Billabong and banners for Cheetah Swimwear.

Then came the chance to airbrush the surf movie poster for Storm Riders for Jack McCoy, Dick Hoole and David Lourie, a major milestone in Jim’s career.

In the 1980s Jim created logos and surfboard sprays for Maddog. The iconic dog logo had arrived and ruled over Byron Bay - one version on a billboard greeting people into town was 14 meters tall. Meanwhile surf movie-maker, the late Chris Bystrom had seen the Storm Riders poster and wanted some of the same. Jim became Chris’s artist and good friend, producing 20 or more surf movie posters over the next 15 years.

During this era Jim also dabbled in making surfboard wax with his iconic Green Stuff Board Wax label, designed t-shirts for Sportsart and Roo Shirts, co-founded a screen printing business called Mental Giants and hand drew surf maps of iconic breaks around the world.

Part of Jim's collection on exhibition at Surf World on the Gold Coast
His dazzling works span the entire spectrum of modern surf art. 
Before long Jim’s growing sons were coming of age and following in their father’s brush strokes. Jim and his son Shannon set up a surfboard spraying factory and companies like Mambo, Coca Cola, Dick Brewer and Gordon & Smith all had designs from the father and sons. By now, Jim’s second son Joel was painting some fantastic and wild designs, and the third son Jerrod was hot on the artistic trail too. The boys couldn't have avoided the artistic lifestyle - there was a drawing board and pens in every room of the house.

Back at Mooball the local service station needed a face lift, so Jim suggested a cow theme and created a facade for the entire building and surroundings, adorning the town with black and white cow print and propelling Mooball into the spotlight on Rove TV and featuring in the Lonely Planet guide.

These days Jim runs the nearby Burringbar General Store, a job neither connected to surfing nor art, but it allows him plenty of time to surf and plot his next assault on the surf art world. His contributions to the surf art have been wide and varied, and something tells us there’s plenty more to come.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Not Occy: Favourite Cronulla son honoured...

He's back...

Iain "Ratso" Buchanan, the former Cronulla pro surfer who turned his hand to judging and rose through the ranks to become head judge of the world professional (ASP) tour in Europe, returned to Cronulla on the weekend to celebrate with old surfing mates winning the 2011 World ASP Masters Surfing title in Brazil.

Photo: Prodigal son: Cronulla mates such as (from left, rear) Richard Maurer, Cameron Johnston, Barry Tyte and Mark Henderson gathered on Saturday when Iain "Ratso" Buchanan (front) got life membership after winning the World Masters surfing title. Picture: John Veage

The New Zealand-born Buchanan, 50, recently managed to topple Australia's former world open surf champion, Wayne "Rabbit" Bartholomew, to win the World Masters title. Rendering himself the first Kiwi to ever take the title.

While he was crowned at an end of the 2011 year ASP Tour Banquet last week in Queensland, his old Cronulla friends got together and decided to also toast his success at Cronulla's Amodus Cafe on Saturday — and make him a life member of the Cronulla Boardriders Club.

Want to read more? For the full story see: St George & Sutherland Shire Leader

In case you missed it; for our story on Ratso's Masters win last year Click here

Friday, November 11, 2011

New Book: Australia's Hottest 100 Surfing Legends

Noosa Heads, Queensland based, surf journalist and author, Phil Jarratt will launch is latest book, Australia's Hottest 100 Surfing Legends at the Museum of Sydney on Sunday afternoon, November 13th.

Four times world champion Mark Richards will be on hand to officially launch the book.

Newcastle's very own super legend;
Mark Richards
MR, whose brilliant Backdoor Pipe bottom turn features on the cover of the book, will be joined by a stellar cast of champions, including Tom Carroll, Terry Fitzgerald, Simon Anderson, Mark Warren, Bruce Raymond, Rob Bain and Captain Goodvibes. Industry legend Shane Stedman [Luke Stedman's father] will co-host proceedings in a chat show format that is sure to produce a lot of laughs.

The launch, to be held in the Museum theatrette, is slated to run from 2:30pm to 4:30pm and is open to the public and free.

Everyone who visits for the launch is invited to view the Museum's current Surf City exhibition, presenting the history of surfing in Sydney from the 1950s, at the concession price of $5.

May we suggest: If you are looking for that extra stocking stuffer for that loved one who surfs - what a perfect opportunity to grab the book, get it signed on the spot and in addition; you'll get to rub shoulders with some of the book's iconic surf legends to boot!

Author Phil Jarratt [right] with 1978 ASP World Champion
and fellow Queenslander; Wayne 'Rabbit' Bartholomew
A cash bar will operate at the lower level and guests are invited to bring the family, enjoy the show, and meet the legends of surfing over a leisurely beer or a coffee.

Author Phil Jarratt will be signing books before and after the show. The veteran surf journalist and author has written 27 books, including Mr Sunset, The Mountain & The Wave, Kelly Slater For The Love, and last year's Salts & Suits, which won him his third Australian Surf Culture Award and was short-listed for the Blake Dawson Prize. He is currently writing the official history of Surfing Australia.

When: Sunday Nov 13, 2:30pm until 4:30pm
Where: Museum of Sydney, Bridge St & Phillip St, Sydney
Cost: Book Launch is free, with cash bar, Bonus: Surf City exhibition for a reduced entry of $5 for book launch attendees.

Website for: Museum of Sydney


Thursday, October 20, 2011

FREE: 18seconds Surf Magazine on-line

18seconds - Issue No.7
Read it for free on-line
FREE MAGAZINE: The new Issue, No.7, of '18seconds' Surf Magazine is now available on-line. In fact you can read all previous 6 issues for free on their site.

Just in case you’re unaware: 18seconds magazine provides a rich reading experience through multimedia and interactivity, by bringing the best surfing from around the world. 18seconds can be viewed on all media devices including iPads, Iphones and Androids.

In the new issue; they track down Murray Bourton of Queensland-based Base Surfboards and discover, after all the chaos, there are great changes in them hills.

Read it for free on a nice digital platform at: 18seconds Surf Magazine

Don't forget to mark in your calendar:
Mick Mock's Vintage Surf Auction
Harbord Diggers Club
Freshwater Beach, Sydney
Viewing: Saturday 26th November, 2011 - 3:00 to 5:00pm
Auction: Sunday 27th November, 2011 - From 10:30am

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Vintage Swap Meet - Coolangatta

Underground Surf
One Slightly Obsessed Collector holds his own Swap Meet

Coolangatta Event poster
Slightly obsessed - they're the best kind aren't they?

Co-owner of Underground Surf in McLean Street, Coolangatta, Andre 'Ondi' Marsaus has his own Vintage Swap Meet coming up on Saturday 8th October, 2011.

A highly impassioned collector, Ondi, runs the surf emporium with his partner Maree.

So if you're in the market to buy/sell/swap up any old vintage surfboards or related gear, the Southern end of the Gold Coast is the place to head on October 8th.

If you want some of idea how deep Ondi is in - you have to have a peek at the current issue of the awesome free bi-monthly surf magazine, Smorgasboarder.

They just published a two-page spread featuring Andre 'Ondi' Marsaus and part of his collection of over 300 boards. [see insert right].

Meet the Fleet: This assemblage of foam and fibreglass
represents about one quarter of Ondi's classic
surfboard collection. Above are pages
48-49 of the new Smorgasboarder Magazine

[Click to enlarge]
Event organisers, Ondi and Maree are on the lookout for more contributions to add to the gathering. So if you have something to display or offer, consign, swap, or just want to get an appraisal done - then make sure you contact them.

Should be a real fun day and a good chance to rub shoulders with many fellow enthusiasts. It's always interesting to see what gets dragged out from the rafters.

This is all part of testing the waters for the big Bleach Surf Festival that will be coming up on the Gold Coast in February in 2012.

Here's the skinny...

Location: Underground Surf
Date: Saturday 8th October, 2011
Time: 10:00am until 2:00pm
Call: 07 5599-1040 for more info or help

READ FREE: The new 164-page Smorgasboarder Magazine on-line. Click here

You may also be interested in:
Our report from Mick Mock's 2010 Vintage Surf Auction

You can purchase Steve Core's '75 Ocean Rhythms DVD at Underground Surf, Coolangatta

Friday, September 23, 2011

All '60s mystery surfers identified

Classic surf photo from the early sixties
Cronulla surfers all identified

Good friend, life-long Cronulla surfer and avid board collector from the Stringerless era; Larry Cohen has managed to shed some additional light on the mystery '60s surfers photo published last Saturday in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Photographer Bob Weeks captured this rare shot
of these Cronulla surfers at the Ulladulla
Golf Course Reef back in the early sixties.
Larry lives just a few doors up from John Coleman, who we identified as the young 'Gremlin' in the photo earlier this week in a story.

John dropped in to visit Larry and could clearly name all the guys who were in the photo. As John tells the story, he was around 14 yrs old at the time and the photo was taken around 1963/64. He goes on say that all the other guys in the photo are much older than him, but they let him tag along on surf trips just because he was such a good surfer.

The photo, which turns out to be a fashionable time stamp of the times, was taken by Bob Weeks and the location was the famous Golf Course reef at Ulladulla, on the NSW South Coast.

'60s shot of Nigel Dwyer glassing boards
at Norm Casey Surfboards, Taren Point.
Photo from the Nigel Dwyer,
Del Surfboards Collection, NZ.

Identified and hand marked in the photo above; are Cronulla's top surfers from the era, here's the entire crew: John Coleman, John Gittins, Nigel Dwyer, Robert Ayers and Tony Nicholas. 

A surf industry person, Nigel Dwyer worked at both Jackson Surfboards and Norm Casey Surfboards. Nigel moved across the pond to North Island of New Zealand in 1965 and founded Del Surfboards in New Plymouth and is still entrenched there - some 46 years later.

Cronulla's loss was New Zealand's gain. Nigel became and essential part of the development of surfing in New Zealand and to this very day, still makes a major contribution. Take a look at his Del Surfboards website - it has a timeline of some awesome old photos on there.

All this is perfect timing for this nostalic photo revival action as it will all be vividly relived starting tonight at the Surf City Exhibition at the Museum of Sydney.

If you like this, you might also like:
Huntington Beach surfboard pioneer 'Gordie' passes away
Manly's Heritage Surf Shop to close its doors
Surfing in Vietnam during the Vietnam War


Photo: Typhoon Wave Power

Pure Ocean Power
Massive waves lash Japan's Tsunami ravaged coastline

Tokyo: A powerful typhoon slammed into Japan Wednesday, halting trains and leaving 13 people dead or missing in south-central regions before grazing a crippled nuclear plant and heaping rain on the tsunami-ravaged northeast.

Giant waves generated by Typhoon Roke explode against
the breakwaterin Udono, Mie Prefecture, Japan.
The storm, packing sustained winds of up to 100 mph, made landfall in the early afternoon near the city of Hamamatsu, about 125 miles west of Tokyo. The fast-moving storm went past the capital in the evening and then headed up into the northeast, where it eventually lost strength.

Tokyo, where many rush hour commuter trains were suspended, stranding thousands of commuters who were trying to rush home were stuck at stations across the sprawling city. More than 200 domestic flights were cancelled.

Parts of Japan's central city of Nagoya, about 170 miles west of Tokyo, were flooded near swollen rivers where rescue workers helped residents evacuate in rubber boats.

Toyota Motor Corp., Japan's No. 1 automaker, shut down its plants as a precaution. Machinery maker Mitsubishi Heavy Industries told workers at its five plants to stay home, company spokesman Hideo Ikuno said.